The Government Accountability Office’s (“GAO”) February 2018 report, entitled “Critical Infrastructure Protection: Additional Actions Are Essential for Assessing Cybersecurity Framework Adoption,” outlined the progress the federal government, industry and their affiliates have made in protecting critical infrastructure.  Perhaps, more importantly however, the report revealed that many of the nation’s foundational public and private systems continue to face challenges in implementing  coordinated efforts to secure those systems from cyber threats, save for notable progress in a few sectors.  As regulators and legislators continue to explore the best methodologies of protection and dispatch resources to address the country’s cyber threats, critical... READ MORE
On January 23,  2018, the United States Army Corps of Engineers issued Draft Engineering Circular 1165-2-220, Policy and Procedural Guidance for Processing Requests to Alter U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Projects Pursuant to 33 U.S.C. § 408.  Comments on the draft circular are due March 7th, but there are reports that the comment deadline may be extended to April 6th. READ MORE
The Washington Legislature recently passed Engrossed Senate Substitute Senate Bill 6091 (“ESSB 6091”), also known as the “Hirst Fix,” which seeks to redress some of the implications of the recent Hirst decision issued by the Washington State Supreme Court by easing restrictions on new domestic wells in rural areas.  The law also initiates a significant new mitigation planning effort in most watersheds in the state to offset impacts of those new wells.  The Governor signed ESSB 6091 into law on January 19, 2018, resolving a contentious and vexing legislative impasse that had spanned two legislative sessions and had held the Capital Budget hostage.  The Washington State Department of Ecology has solicited and is now considering comments on its... READ MORE
Michael Pincus and Maranda Compton will present at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation's Midstream Oil & Gas from the Upstream Prospective Seminar in Houston, Texas on April 24, 2018.  Mike and Maranda will walk through the planning and permitting process for both oil and gas pipelines—providing a high-level review of the entire progression from siting to construction.  They will also focus on recent protests and related legal and civil challenges as a lens through which to explore how to achieve practical success in planning and permitting, covering both regulatory requirements and best practices.  READ MORE
Justin Moeller, partner in the firm's electric practice, will be speaking on "The Cash Flow Foundation for Project Financing" during LSI's Electric Transmission in the Northeast Conference.   Justin will be providing conference attendees with an update on FERC cost-of service rate making cases, including transmission formula rate cases, market-based rate issues and renewable resource integration.   READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman is pleased to sponsor the 2018 DecomWorld Summit in Houston, TX on February 20-21, 2018.   Mike Farber  will be speaking on navigating legal and regulatory issues related to decommissioning and abandonment, and will be accompanied by Jonathan Simon.   Mike's presentation will focus on the following topics:    Overview of current Administration statements and policies on financial assurance and decommissioning Discussion of potential decommissioning and financial assurance reforms Optimal strategies for engaging BSEE, BOEM and other federal agencies What to expect in the event of a safety/environmental incident during decommissioning operations   For more information to and to register for DecomWorld ... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman LLP is pleased to announce that Sharon White been named Of Counsel to the firm.  Ms. White is based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.  She represents a broad range of clients on issues relating to the regulation of hydroelectric projects, including providing counsel on licensing and environmental matters affecting energy development.  Ms. White is one of the leaders of the firm’s hydropower practice, and actively participates in professional organizations such as the National Hydropower Association and the American Bar Association, where she serves as Vice Chair for Year in Review - Hydro Committee in the Section on the Environment, Energy and Resources. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman Senior Policy Advisor and former Senator Mary Landrieu joined former Senators Trent Lott, Tom Daschle, and Olympia Snowe on a panel to offer their perspectives on the current state of the U.S. Senate and how members can work across party lines on major political issues.  The panel, entitled, "Making the Senate Work - How Can it Be Done?" was moderated by talk show host and former Executive Director of the California Democratic Party, Bill Press. READ MORE
With the help of our talented government relations and public policy team, Van Ness Feldman clients secured several notable legislative victories in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 that was signed into law by President Trump on February 9th.  READ MORE
FERC Grid Operators Submit Resiliency Comments to FERC - March 9 - Each Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) and Independent System Operator (ISO) submitted comments in FERC Docket AD18-7 in response to FERC’s request seeking information on how each market currently evaluates the resilience of its system. Commenters were asked to answer a variety of questions regarding the process by which an RTO/ISO identifies resiliency risks and what challenges to the resilience of the bulk power system each market faces. Comments for the following RTO/ISO’s are available here: PJM, NYISO, ISO-NE, MISO, SPP, CAISO, and ERCOT. NERC NERC and WECC Petition for Approval of Regional Reliability Standards: On March 8, 2018 NERC and the Western Electricity... READ MORE
Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee Continues Discussion of Proposed Gas Rule On March 2, the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) convened a telephonic meeting to continue considering the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) proposed rule to amend the federal pipeline safety regulations applicable to gas transmission and gathering pipelines.  GPAC discussed and voted on provisions addressing strengthening assessment requirements; assessments outside of high consequence areas (HCA), i.e., proposed moderate consequence areas; and records.  The Committee discussed, but did not vote on, proposed revised repair criteria.  Presentation slides and additional information here.  The GPAC is scheduled to resume its consideration of... READ MORE
FERC Finds Licensee Not Obligated to Provide Project Output to United States On February 15, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held that the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and Energy Keepers, Incorporated, co-licensees for the Séliš Ksanka QÍispé Project (SKQ Project—formerly, the Kerr Project), are not obligated to make any part of the Project’s output available to the United States for and on behalf of the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project (FIIP) or the Flathead, Mission, and Jocko Valley Irrigation Districts (Irrigation Districts).  FERC emphasized its long-standing policy of allowing project licensees to allocate power output as they see fit, absent a legislative directive to the contrary, on grounds that the... READ MORE